If you enjoy specific aquatic activities, like fishing or wakeboarding, or if you just like the idea of spending more peaceful time alone on the water, you should consider buying a boat. However, even if you have the money for it, this can be an excruciatingly hard decision to make. There are thousands of different types of boats on the market, with a wide range of styles, abilities, and price levels.
How do you choose between them?
Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Boat
It’s going to be much easier to make this decision if you break it down into individual factors that you need to consider.
· Your budget. Start by estimating your budget. If you know how much you’re able to spend, you can instantly eliminate several options from contention. The first thing you’ll need to analyze is the overall price of the boat. If you’re not able to buy the boat in cash, you can use a loan calculator to figure out how much money you’ll need to borrow and what your monthly payments will be. Is this going to work with the rest of your budget? What’s the maximum amount of money that you would be able to spend? Keep in mind that the initial costs of buying a boat represent only a fraction of the costs of boat ownership. You’ll also need to pay for things like storage, fuel, insurance, maintenance, and upkeep.
· The type of motor/engine. Next, you’ll need to think about the type of motor or engine you want your boat to have. Are you looking for something very powerful that can move quickly on the water? Or are you more interested in slow, luxurious cruises? In any case, you’ll need to know the four main types of engines that boats can have. Outboard engines, including outboard electric boat motors, are designed to be mounted on the transom of your boat; they’re typically used to both power and steer smaller crafts. Inboard engines are stored inside your hull, using four-stroke engine capabilities to power your boat while you steer it with a steering wheel. Stern engine drives are like inboard-outboard hybrids, and jet drive engines use water to propel boats forward. Each type has strengths and weaknesses, so weigh these features carefully when making your decision.
· The size. How big of a boat do you really need? As you might imagine, boats tend to get more expensive as they get bigger. If you’re only interested in solo fishing runs or if you want a boat to get away from people, a small craft might be sufficient. If you plan on entertaining your entire family and lots of friends, you’ll need something much bigger. You’ll also need to think about the amount of space you have to walk around on the boat – and how much storage you have.
· New or used? Next, think about whether you want to buy a new or used boat. New boats have a lot of allure, since they’ve never touched the water; if you buy from a reliable manufacturer, they’re almost guaranteed to be free of major flaws and they’ll be clean and pretty for your first use. However, new boats depreciate rapidly once you purchase them. Used boats, in contrast, may have some underlying issues, but they’re much more affordable. If you buy used, make sure you get a boat inspection before finalizing the purchase.
· Storage options. How are you going to store your boat? You’re not going to use it all the time, so you’ll need a place to keep it when it’s not in use. Can you store it at a local marina? Can you store it in your garage? Make sure you fully understand the storage options available to you before deciding on a model.
· Insurance. Depending on where you live, insurance may or may not be required for your boat. But in most cases, it’s a wise investment either way. Get insurance quotes from multiple providers before moving forward with your purchase.
Once you have a better understanding of what you’re looking for, you’ll be ready to start shopping for a boat. Here are some of the best ways to do it:
· Rent or try multiple different boats. One straightforward method is to simply rent or try out multiple different boats on your own. How does each boat handle? Which ones do you like best? What are the features that led you to like or dislike each boat?
· Talk to seasoned boat owners. Start talking to people who have owned and used boats for a long time. What type of boat would they suggest for you and your needs? Which types of boats have they owned in the past and have they been satisfied with these crafts?
· Attend a boat show. At a boat show, you’ll get the chance to see (and walk around on) many different boats. You may also be able to score a great deal there!
Buying a boat is a major financial decision, and one that you need to think through carefully if you want to maximize your chances of being satisfied with this purchase. Once you become a bit more familiar with the types of boats available and what, exactly, you’re looking for, the decision will become far easier.